Words related to dis-
late 13c., "separate, distinct; various;" late 14c., "different in kind or character" (the sense now in diverse), from Old French divers (11c.) "different, various; singular, odd, exceptional; wretched, treacherous, perverse," from Latin diversus "turned different ways," in Late Latin "various," past participle of divertere "to turn in different directions," from assimilated form of dis- "aside" (see dis-) + vertere "to turn" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend").
The sense of "several, sundry, more than one but not a great number" emerged by c. 1400, referring "originally and in form to the variety of objects; but, as variety implies number, becoming an indefinite numeral word expressing multiplicity" [OED].
Middle English used the spellings divers and diverse indifferently. In later use, diverse became more associated with Latin diversus "turned different ways," and after c.1700 the differentiation in form and sense was complete.
Divers implies difference only, and is always used with a plural noun; diverse (with either a singular or a plural noun) denotes difference with opposition. Thus, the evangelists narrate the same events in divers manners, but not in diverse. [Century Dictionary]
arlye 15c., diversifien, "to make various in form or qualities," from Old French diversifier (13c.) "to make diverse," from Medieval Latin diversificare, from Latin diversus "turned different ways," in Late Latin "various," past participle of divertere "to turn in different directions," from assimilated form of dis- "aside" (see dis-) + vertere "to turn" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend"). Economic sense is from 1939. Related: Diversified; diversifying.
1560s, devest (modern spelling is c. 1600), "strip of possessions," from French devester "strip of possessions" (Old French desvestir), from des- "away" (see dis-) + vestir "to clothe," from Latin vestire "to clothe" (from PIE *wes- (2) "to clothe," extended form of root *eu- "to dress").
The etymological sense of "strip of clothes, arms, or equipage" is from 1580s. Meaning "strip by some definite or legal process" is from 1570s. Economic sense "sell off (a subsidiary company, later an investment) is by 1961. Related: Divested; divesting.
early 14c., "separate into parts or pieces," from Latin dividere "to force apart, cleave, distribute," from assimilated form of dis- "apart" (see dis-) + -videre "to separate," which, according to de Vaan, is from PIE *(d)uid- "to separate, distinguish" (source also of Sanskrit avidhat "allotted," Old Avestan vida- "to devote oneself to"). He writes: "The original PIE verb ... (which became thematic in Latin) meant 'to divide in two, separate'. It lost initial *d- through dissimilation in front of the next dental stop, and was reinforced by dis- in Latin ...." Also compare devise.
It is attested from late 14c. as "sever the union or connection with," also "disunite, cause to disagree in opinion." Intransitive sense of "become separated into parts" is from 1520s. Mathematical sense "perform the operation of division" is from early 15c. Divide and rule (c. 1600) translates Latin divide et impera, a maxim of Machiavelli. Related: Divided; dividing.
mid-15c., divulgen, "make public, send or scatter abroad" (now obsolete in this general sense), from Latin divulgare "publish, make common," from assimilated form of dis- "apart" (see dis-) + vulgare "make common property," from vulgus "common people" (see vulgar). Sense of "to tell or make known something formerly private or secret" is from c. 1600. Related: Divulged; divulging.
c. 1300, "make straight; direct, guide, control; prepare for cooking," from Old French dresser, drecier "raise (oneself); address, prepare; lift, raise, hoist; set up, arrange, set (a table), serve (food); straighten, put right, direct," from Vulgar Latin *directiare "make straight," from Latin directus "direct, straight," past participle of dirigere "set straight," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + regere "to direct, to guide, keep straight" (from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line").
Sense of "decorate, adorn" is from late 14c., as is that of "put on clothing." The older sense survives in military dress ranks "align columns of troops." Of males, in reference to the position of the sex organ in trousers, by 1961.
Dress up "attire elaborately, put on one's best clothing" is from 1670s; dress down "wear clothes less formal than expected" is by 1960. Transitive use of dress (someone) down, "scold, reprimand," is by 1876, earlier simply dress (1769), in which the sense is ironical. In Middle English, dress up meant "get up" and dress down meant "to kneel." Related: Dressed; dressing.